Books in Bloom brings accomplished authors to Eureka Springs

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Books in Bloom, the literary component of May Festival of the Arts, will take place from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, May 21, at the Crescent Hotel gardens.

The event brings all kinds of authors to Eureka Springs, including national best-sellers, up-and-coming talents and authors of particular regional interest.

“We’ve put together a stellar lineup of writers this year,” co-chair Jennifer Hudspeth said. “Attendees will find a presentation for just about every taste and interest.”

Co-chair Jean Elderwind agreed.

“We are pleased to announce that Laurie R. King will grace our festival this year. Her books draw readers into another place and time, filled with mystery and adventure,” Elderwind said. “Author S.C. Gwynne’s books will appeal to fans of American history. Craig Johnson is making an encore appearance to speak about the inspiration behind his very popular Longmire series.”

She continued, “And Nathalia Holt’s book Rocket Girls explores the contribution women have made to the U.S. space program. And that’s just the slate for authors speaking in the conservatory!”

Johnson said he’s excited to return to Books in Bloom, saying he has been asked back quite a few times but couldn’t work it into his schedule until this year.

“The organizers asked again this year and I realized I couldn’t do it again because I was on tour with the paperback version of The Highwayman, but then I thought why not put Books in Bloom on the tour?” Johnson said. “I called up the publicist in New York, and it all fell into place.”

Johnson said he will talk about the main character in the Longmire series, Walt Longmire.

“There are a lot of questions about where Walt came from, where he’s going, how much of him is drawn from sheriffs I know and how much of him is taken from me,” Johnson said. “I’ve been writing about Walt for a dozen years now, and I don’t think I’ve come close to plumbing his depth.”

Since his Longmire novels have been adapted into a TV show on Netflix, Johnson said, he’s had a pleasant experience.

“The whole experience, contrary to what happens with most authors and Hollywood, has been great,” Johnson said. “It’s all about the character — whenever Hollywood gets hold of your work, you can bet it’s because of the characters and not the plots.”

Longmire is going into its sixth season, Johnson said.

“That’s 63 episodes. Well, I’ve only written 12 novels, two novellas and a collection of short stories about Walt,” Johnson said. “So you can see how fast they go through your material.”

One thing that has worked in his favor, Johnson said, is how unique the Longmire series is.

“Longmire is kind of anti-CSI, if you know what I mean,” Johnson said. “You can’t set out to do what everybody else is doing and think you’re going to succeed. Take a chance, try and do something different.”

He added, “Write, write every day. Write the best you can. That’s the only control you really have.”

Johnson said he’s looking forward to coming back to Eureka Springs.

“It’s such an interesting place, geologically, architecturally and then there are the readers — who are wonderful,” Johnson said.

Other authors featured at the event are C.D. Albin, Garrard Conley, Sara Flannery Murphy, Rex Nelson, Todd Parnell, Stephanie Storey, Alexandra Teague, Kate Hart and James and Kimberly Dean. In case of inclement weather, the festival will move inside the Crescent Hotel.

For more information, visit www.BooksinBloom.org or call 870-423-5300.

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